John Kerry’s Iraq Photos, And What George Bush Would Have Done

There are plenty of theories going around about this photo being posted on many right wing blogs to claim that the troops were avoiding John Kerry during his recent trip to Iraq:

Some say it is Photoshopped, questioning if this was even taken in Iraq when looking at the flags in the background. TPMmuckraker notes that the picture’s embedded data shows a date of January 9. 2006, but perhaps the camera’s date was set incorrectly. Shaun at Upper Left raises further questions upon lightening up the picture.

There have been comments that this was taken at the embassy where few soldiers were even present, and someone saying he was there reported that Kerry didn’t enter the room until near the end of breakfast when few people were left. Besides, how many soldiers are going to just walk up and sit down next to a Senator who is busy talking to someone else?

It’s not really necessary to worry about which explanation is correct since, as I reported earlier, photos taken when Kerry was in Iraq did show him with the troops:

All in all, this was a pretty desperate smear, but it is typical of the conservatives who typically resort to this nonsense but never show the guts to discuss Kerry’s actual statements and positions. Afterall, these are pretty much the same people who have been twisting Kerry’s recent joke about George Bush getting us stuck in Iraq to be a smear on the troops. It’s much easier to distort things than to respond. If we wanted to resort to this type of attack I imagine it would be possible to find a picture of Bush with only a couple of people and claim other were ostracizing him.

Actually the Bush people are much better at propaganda and would never get caught in a mess such as this. For example, when there weren’t enough soldiers at a Bush rally for a 2004 campaign ad, they just Photoshopped them in:


My take on this at the Unofficial Kerry Blog in October 2004 is reposted under the fold.

(From October 28, 2004)

Breaking News: George Bush develops army of clones, first seen in Bush ad (photo above).

It is speculated that the Bush administration developed this clone army, based upon an idea from George Lucas, in order to proceed with the neoconservative agenda of world dominance, without having to resort to a draft. Critics of the plan point out the effects upon the Republic when implemented.

Others speculate that these are actually alien clones, as first revealed by Chris Carter. Under this theory, the bulge on George Bush’s back in the debates was either an alien communication device or mind control device.

Proponents of both theories fear that Bush might also be planning to use cloned Republican voters to steal the election next week.

Others speculate that this actually represents use of Photo Shop to create the illusion of a larger attendance at a Bush rally–a rather boring explanation.

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  1. 1
    AlphaLiberal says:

    Good connect!

  2. 2
    Otter says:

    It seems well worth noting that “Ben of Mesopotamia” — aka Benjamin Runkle — one of the RW bloggers who first really pushed hard on this non-story about the photo in question, is a self-described communications specialist (which means, in some quarters, ‘propaganda specialist’) who has worked for the DOD, the NSC, and according to his blog’s ‘About Me’ blurb is a “Harvard PhD and Presidential speechwriter called back to Active Duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

    Is this another example of BushCo’s proven policy of planting propaganda mouthpieces into supposedly non-partisan bailiwicks so that they can churn out pro-administration spin and misinformation? Could this be another sock-puppet soldier embedded with the troops so that he can influence them on the ground and feed back pre-canned points to the folks at home?

    I’m not saying that he’s just another paid BushCo spokespuppet hiding behind a blogname, because I don’t have access to enough facts to prove or disprove that. But given the little bit of facts that are available to us on this end, especially coupled with this administration’s known history of using plants and fake pundits to feed false information to the public, it certainly seems to me like this is something that bears further investigation by those with more access to the details.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:


    It does look like the story started with Runkle. It could be either a case of Bush’s people setting this up, or simply a case of a conservative Bush-worshipper in the blogosphere pushing the story on his own. Either way it doesn’t really matter as the picture, even if real, doesn’t prove anything.

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